We kick off this week with a seven game slate. As usual, I will provide you with some of my NBA Daily plays for this evening’s games. Injuries and who is playing and who isn’t will again play a huge roll in determining value. Make sure you check back in with our sheets throughout the night leading up until roster lock.
The name that will likely stand out the most at this position is Damian Lillard. He offers the highest ceiling at the position, has a great matchup on paper, and doesn’t cost too much. All great things, but what’s concerning is that he’s averaging an unimpressive 28 fantasy points against the Suns this season in three games. Still, he’s always capable of a 50+ fantasy game and that can’t be said by many of the point guards available tonight. A point guard that stands out to me tonight is Mike Conley. He’s been playing at less than 100 percent and hasn’t been the most reliable option this season, but he’s fared well against the Kings this year. This should come as no surprise as the Kings allow the second most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards. Conley averages 32 fantasy points per game against them. I’d recommend him more in tournaments because of his erratic nights where he shoots less than 30 percent from the field.
Two guys that are cheaper than $6,000 on DraftKings and are appealing for tonight are Ish Smith and Isaiah Thomas. Smith made the best of his opportunity as a starting point guard. He has scored in the double figures in eight of his last 10 games and seven or more assists in seven of the last 10 games. He’s also topped 30 fantasy points in five of his last 10 games. Tonight he faces the Lakers which are considered the worst defensive team against point guards. All signs point towards another solid outing for Smith tonight. Dennis Schroder is also in play if Jeff Teague (Probable) sits out once again. He’s played well in the two games he’s started in place of Teague, topping 34 fantasy points in each of those contests. He would need to score 31.4 fantasy points to hit value, so if he gets the start that should be easily accomplished. Lastly I’ll touch on Trey Burke. He isn’t the most appealing option, but if you look at his numbers, there are some things to like. First, his salary is affordable. Second, he’s topped 30 fantasy points in three of the last four games. Lastly, this is a great matchup as the Raptors allow 49 fantasy points per game to opposing point guards on DraftKings and 40 fantasy points per game on Fan Duel. Now keep in mind, he’s not the most consistent shooter, so it’s best to roll the dice on him in tournaments only.
James Harden is the top play at shooting guard tonight, but his price may push some people away, which is completely understandable. However, it is worth noting that he has scored more than 52 fantasy points in five of his last eight games. If you decide to skip on Harden, both Eric Bledsoe and DeMar DeRozan are the next best options. You can make an argument to start either of the two. Bledsoe offers the higher ceiling and has fared well against Portland this season, averaging 39.8 fantasy points against them. While DeRozan has topped 30 fantasy points in nine of his last 10 games and in that one game he didn’t score 30 fantasy points, he had 29.75 fantasy points. The conclusion is he’s been a tad more consistent as of late. Typically I’m not one to pay this much for a shooting guard, but given the value at point guard tonight, any of these three options make solid plays.
If you’re looking to spend less at this position Lou Williams and Kyle Korver are my suggestions. Both are cheaper than $5,000 on both sites and can easily score 25+ fantasy points on any given night. Korver rested on Saturday and should get back on the court tonight. He faces a Bucks team that has been more susceptible to shooting guards in recent games and allow the fourth most three pointers per game, which is Korver’s bread and butter. Williams is a streaky scorer, but he has been shooting the rock better in the last three games. Kyle Lowry is out indefinitely with a back injury, so the Raptors can use more of this consistent shooting from Williams. The opportunities will be there for him, it’s just a matter of making the buckets. The good news is you aren’t risking much to find out.
Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gay are the two top options at small forward tonight. Hayward has the better matchup of the two as he faces the Timberwolves who allow the second most fantasy points per game to small forwards. Hayward has topped 38 fantasy points in six of the last games on DraftKings. Needless to say he’s playing well. With Derrick Favors questionable for tonight’s game, there’s a chance Hayward sees a higher usage rate than normal. Gay is also in play tonight. He’s a tad more expensive on Fan Duel, but cheaper on DraftKings. Despite a tough matchup on paper, Gay has played well against the Grizzlies this season. He’s averaging 38.5 fantasy points against them.
If these two players are out of your budget for this position, then Trevor Ariza is someone I like tonight. He’s played well in recent games and has a decent matchup. Ariza has topped 30 fantasy points in six of the last 10 games. Keep in mind he averages 28 fantasy points per game for the season. With all the injuries on the Rockets team, Ariza has produced better numbers. That should continue tonight against a mediocre defense. The same can be said about Josh Smith who is the same price as Ariza on DraftKings. I wouldn’t hate it if both of them were started now that Dwight Howard is ruled out of tonight’s game. Nicolas Batum is also an option at around the same price. He’s been less inconsistent than Ariza in recent games, but has played well against the Suns this season, averaging 37 fantasy points against them. He’s a riskier play at the same price, but offers somewhat of a higher ceiling tonight. An economical option to consider is Chase Budinger. He’s played well as of late due to his increased usage rate because of all the injuries in Minnesota. He has topped 27 fantasy points in six of the last eight games. Ideally, this isn’t the matchup you’d want for Budinger, but he comes at a good price and has established a 25 fantasy point floor in recent games. So long as Kevin Martin and Ricky Rubio remain on the shelf, Budinger should continue to produce at this level. Make sure to keep an eye on the statuses of these players before finalizing your lineups.
LaMarcus Aldridge is my top power forward for tonight. He’s topped 45 fantasy points in six of the last 10 games and is averaging 43 fantasy points per game against the Suns this season. He offers a steady floor as well as a high ceiling. Nerlens Noel and Paul Milsap are both cheaper than Aldridge and make great plays as well. Noel has become one of the best options at the power forward position. He’s averaging 14 more fantasy points per game than his season average in the last six games. He’s topped 50 points three times in the last 10 games, along with two 40+ fantasy point performances. He’s a blocking machine and is all but guaranteed a double-double. Milsap rested on Saturday and should be back on the court tonight against the Bucks who he has absolutely crushed this season. He’s averaging 43 fantasy points against them in three games year. Millsap has topped his yearly average in four consecutive games and if history repeats itself, it’ll be five in a row.
On the economical side both Ed Davis and Robert Covington are appealing, more so Covington. The reason being because of the amount of minutes Covington has played over the last four games in comparison to Davis. Covington has topped 30 fantasy points in three of the last four games. He faces a Lakers team that isn’t a great defender. Davis does more with less than Covington, but at times he plays limited minutes, which caps his ceiling. The good news is that he only needed 22 minutes to score 31 fantasy points the last time he faced the Sixers. Both of these players should only be in tournament lineups as they tend to be inconsistent and offer decent ceilings based on their salaries.
Some high-level center options are Rudy Gobert and Marc Gasol. With no Boogie tonight these are the two centers to consider when trying to decide if you should pay up for the position or not. Gobert will face the Timberwolves who allow the second most fantasy points per game to centers. With Derek Favors dealing with a back injury and questionable for tonight’s game, Gobert could see a higher usage rate. He did score 48.8 fantasy points in his last game against the Thunder while Favors sat that one out. He’s a solid option as it is, but becomes even more valuable if Favors sits.
Jonas Valanciunas and Jordan Hill are to more affordable centers to consider. Valanciunas has topped 28 fantasy points in six of the last seven games on DraftKings. He will face a deplete Houston team that is filled with injuries to their big men, so he should be able to take advantage of that in the paint. Hill is also appealing as he has the best matchup of all centers, but the inconsistent minutes are worrisome. He’s a risky play because of that, but if he logs in the minutes, the fantasy points will be there. It’s just a big IF that this point.
Good luck to all tonight!